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Lochinvar National Park
is a large flood plain located at the far south end of Kafue Flats. Despite the fact that the pack has few animals, it is a destination with outstanding beauty and numerous opportunities for bird watching, supported with more than 410 recognized bird species spread over its 428 sq. kilometer terrain.
A Guide to Visit Lochinvar National Park
The park sits on the southern border of Kafue Flats which are a large flood plain of river Kafue, between Kafue gorge bordering on the east and Itezhi tezhi dam on the western side. The park stretches from river Kafue in the north to the woody hills in the south covering an area of approximately 33 kilometers.
It has the shallow but vast Chunga
whose size noticeably alternates depending on the levels of the river. The diverse vegetation comprised of flood plains, termitaria and wood land makes it a spectacular place worth visiting.
It is specifically popular for its large herds of Lechwe which are exceptional to the Kafue Flats. Other common antelopes are the oribi, wildebeest, buffalos and kudu, and on the other hand water birds are very plentiful.The WWF and the IUCN have chosen the Kafue Flats to be a wetland of international significance beneath the Ramsar Convention.
A funded management project in the region is trying to boost the local natives’ awareness for conservation by re-allocating revenue from tourists and harvesting resources in a controlled manner. Part of this exceptional ecosystem are the fishermen some of whom you may crisscross and you will later discover that wildlife and human-beings in this are mutually dependent.
What To See
The Kafue Flats-floodplains located in the northern region usually floods from river Kafue and there you will find hundreds of thousands of prevalent Kafue Lechwe, which is one of the 3 lechwe subspecies found in Zambia. Over 30,000 reside in these in Flats and only move basing on the level of the floods.
When water levels are high, large herds are seen in the open-grassland and on the upper flood line, as the waters drawback, the herds are seen moving north to the grass rich plains.
They feed on herbs and grasses in the one meter high waters and are usually seen swimming in the nearby Chunga Lagoon. They mate commonly during December and January. The males fight for territories in fights known as leks. They also mate with numerous females.
Unique about the termitaria zone is that shrubs and trees only grow on the vast termite mounds, and the remaining area is covered with herbs & grasses which are usually waterlogged especially in the rainy season. In addition there are numerous tinny grey moulds which are not covered with vegetation. The magpie shrike is among the birds you will see in the scattered trees in this terrain and in the adjacent grass lands you will view zebras, oribi, buffalos and wildebeests.
The commonest tree species is the candelabra tree.The south is majorly woodland with Combretum trees and acacia albiba trees dominating. The south does not flood unlike the north.other residents of this region are bushbucks, baboons, vervet monkeys, kudu and bush pigs.
Best Attractions In Zambia
The Gwisho hot springs which happen besides a geographical fault are surrounded by verdant vegetation and ivory palms. The convection currents raise the water to a height of one kilometer and the temperature shots to between 60° C to 90 °C. the water has a high concentration of sulphates, sodium, calcium and chlorine. There is a unique rock –the ‘fault breccia’ which lines the fault and it can be clearly spotted when at the lodge or at Gwisho.
There is an archeological site known as Sabanzi Hill which was unearthed. This destination was a village in the Iron Age which was occupied for the previous century. Be on the watch for the stunning Baobab Tree characterized with a huge hollow trunk which can accommodate to have a number of people sleeping there. In the past the tree was believed to have special powers that protected passing travelers from the wild beasts. There is a peculiar rocky projection known as the Drum Rocks lies near the lodge, and produces reverberating sound if tapped. It is also a local superstition during the olden days and travelers had to make a stop there to greet these rocks before going on.
In addition to the rich bird population, Lochinvar has numerous zebras, wildebeests, oribi and buffalos. The park doesn’t have any dangerous animals other than the buffalos so visitor are greatly recommended to trek around, however vehicles should always stick by the road trucks. Lochinvar is popularly known as a perfect bird haven with different water birds, woodland birds, migrants and raptors. There are about 428 recognized species.
Where To Stay
Surrounding the Chunga lagoon you will see the white pelicans, Caspian tern, flamingos which cover the area with their pink color, Bailon’s crake, red-knobbed coot and the African skimmer. There are numerous duck species such as the black duck, whistling duck, garganey , fulvous duck, southern pochard, yellow billed-duck , pintail, Cape and the European shoveller and the pygmy goose. Among the waders are avocet, Caspian& Pacific golden-plovers, turnstone, little stint, Mongolian, whimbrel, black tailed godwit, spotted redshank, bar tailed godwits and the 6 sandpiper species. More than 45 raptors including osprey, afican cuckoo hawk, black sparrow hawk, peregrine falcon and the Secretary bird. Other species not to miss out are the denham’s bustard, black and white billed korhaans, narina trogon and the yellow throated sand grouse.Accommodation in Zambia ranges from luxury hotels,guest houses,apartment as well as safari lodges.
Places To Visit
Lochinvar can be visited all through the year but caution should be taken during the wet season because of the heavy rains. 4WD vehicles are usually used during this time because the condition of the roads is not so good.
During the month of May that is when the heaviest floods happen in the rainy season, while the lowest occur in October & November, towards the finish of the dry season.
The population of birds is largest in the wet months when migrant birds come in from the north and on the other hand game is commonly seen in the dry months.